These things happen when you run a dog-centric publication. You start buying Poodle-print blouses (for work, you tell yourself). And then Dalmatian-print shoes. People start sending you totes with Frenchies printed on them. You get a license plate that reads DOGLADY. And then you start covering yourself in Greyhound tattoos.
I got my first taste of ink in 2009, the same year I brought Moxie home and joined Dogster’s staff. I started with a pair of Greyhounds chasing a rabbit around my ankle — something small and easily obscured by jeans. Since then I’ve been getting tattooed every year, and I have evolved into what I call a walking petting zoo (with a large owl, cat, rabbit, and three more Greyhound tats as of this writing). Last week, my fourth and possibly final hound tattoo was installed by the lovely Sarah Carter, and I documented the process from start to finish with my iPhone. Some of these shots are a bit raw, but if you’ve never been inked before, it’s a good little step-by-step primer.
Step 1: The laying of the stencil. Previous tattoos have required the artist’s etching to be set down multiple times until perfect, but Sarah nailed my hound’s placement in one go. I chose my right forearm because I figured after four years at Dogster it was time to make a statement that didn’t require rolling up a pant leg. Also, Greyhounds are my spirit animal.
Step 2: Shading in black. I always look for artists who understand the importance of a solid black outline and know how to bring the drama when it comes to shading. Sarah specializes in all-black tats and understands this, but she brings the same gravity to her colored pieces. (She is also the artist behind my Lewis Carroll sleeve on the other arm — Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat, Alice and all.)
Step 3: Color! This piece only took an hour and a half to install, so we got to the color phase a lot quicker than usual. (The owl on my upper right arm took five hours from start to finish for comparison.)
Step 4: Clean, wrap up, and enjoy after a good week of healing! My healing process involves washing the ink multiple times a day, slathering it with scent-free Aveeno lotion and letting it air dry. I’ve tried everything in creation, but that’s what works — at least in my case. (I’d love to hear about your preferred healing processes, guys.)
Step 5: Paint your nails in a complementary color for added effect.
Dogsters: Do you have any dog tattoos? I want to see pictures!